Archive for the ‘Recipe’ Category

pointed-cabbageI spend a lot of my life trying to come up with new ways to cook and prepare vegetables.  We eat an awful lot of veg and very little meat.  Today I thought I’d try stir-fry cabbage with garlic and lemon.  No idea where that idea came from.

I used the following: ~

One de-stalked, very finely shredded sweetheart cabbage, ‘cos that’s what I had  growing in our garden, but your favourite cabbage will work fine I’m sure.  I don’t have a food processor so I just used a knife and cut it across the leaves to make thin shreds. 

One clove of garlic, crushed.

Good slug of extra virgin olive oil.

1 oz butter.

Juice of half a lemon or a good slug if you have the concentrated bottle variety.

Black pepper to taste.

Shake of garlic salt.

Place the oil and butter in a large wok or heavy based frying pan and heat until it starts to foam.  Add the crushed garlic but lift it straight off the heat to avoid the garlic burning [never nice] and just swirl it around for a few seconds to incorporate the flavour of the garlic into the hot oil and butter.  Place the pan back on the heat and straight in with the cabbage.  Stir immediately and keep stirring until it starts to soften.  At this point add your lemon juice, pepper and garlic salt to taste.  Serve immediately. 

I have to say this is now probably my favourite way to eat cabbage, truly delish.  I think you could also add a pinch of chilli flakes or finely sliced fresh chilli if you like a bit of heat.

It would go very nicely with fish due to the lemon.  We had it with chicken breast that I’d marinated in Thai sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, chilli flakes and black pepper.  Potato dish was crushed, roasted garlic new potatoes.  It was an absolutely lovely supper and very light and easy to eat given the heat of the day.

Apologies for no photo but it really wasn’t much to look at,  just a shredded cabbage 😀 .

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Today I managed to take some photo’s of my roasted vegetable ratatouille which I made another batch of this morning.  Beneath that are a few shots of my Chocolate Sundae blanket which has come on a little over the last week or so.  Enjoy!!


Raw veg prepped and chopped. Used some button mushrooms this time.


Dry seasonings and a stray onion lol


Veg after the first 45 minutes of cooking


Time to add the tabasco and chopped tomatoes


Ready to go back into the oven for another 20 minutes


Finished product just waiting for our supper later


Chocolate Sundae blanket with some fragrant Sweet Peas from the garden


Really starting to come together now


Reuben loves smelling the flowers, sooo helpful Reu lol…

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Just a tiny bit left

Just a tiny bit left ~ not a great photo but you get the idea

Here, as promised, is the recipe for my roasted vegetable ratatouille.  As with everything I make it started out as a way to use up left over veg that was starting to look a bit sad.  It’s also great for taking advantage of any veg that’s on special offer or cheap in season.  You can use quite a variety of veg depending on what you like and what you’ve got in.  At the moment aubergines are very cheap, 50p each for a huge one in Tesco, so I’m buying them weekly.

Here’s what I used yesterday and this served two of us amply with a tiny bit left over which is in the photo above.

1 aubergine 

1 medium/large red or white onion

3 carrots

1 medium sized sweet potato

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed with the back of a knife

1 400g can of whole or chunky chopped plum tomatoes.  Aldi sell the chunky chopped variety which are lovely quality, they also sell them with herbs already added which you could also use.  If you use whole ones then just break them up a bit with a fork as you add them.  Same difference really.

black pepper

garlic salt

all purpose seasoning if you have any [see below**]

two shakes of tabasco [I use a lot of tabasco 😉 ]

generous slug of extra virgin olive oil.  I buy mine in Aldi, cheap and very nice flavour.

I have also used parsnips, courgettes, fresh tomatoes, peppers and new potatoes in the past.  I’ve tried open cup mushrooms but not a great result, I think button mushrooms would have been better.

Preheat oven to 190C.  Wash all the veg and chop it into decent bite-sized chunks, not so big that they take ages to cook but not so small that they melt away in the cooking process.  I cut the onion smaller as I’m not keen on great big bits of onion and it caramalises better if cut smaller.  Place everything, apart from the tin of tomatoes, in a large roasting dish.  I use the one I do my roast spuds in. You don’t want the veg too deep, a single layer is best so it cooks quickly but I do pack it in, there’s not a spare inch of tin showing.

Place a good glug of olive oil over the veg, enough to coat it all  but not so much that it’s swimming [get your hands in at this point and give it a good mix].  Give the veg a good shake and add your dry seasonings but not the tabasco yet.  Stir to get the seasoning on all the veg and add a bit more seasoning if necessary.

Place dish in the middle of the oven for about 30 – 45 minutes stirring once halfway through until veg is starting to brown and cook down.  At this point open your tomatoes, add the tabasco to them and stir in a bit.  Pour the tomatoes over the veg and combine well.  Put back in the oven for a further 15 – 20 minutes.  That’s it!!  Enjoy because it’s absolutely delicious.  We eat this on top of jacket potatoes, with roast chicken, fish/fish cakes or mixed through pasta.

You can also add a broken up mozzarella ball 5 minutes before the end if you want to.  It creates a lovely stringy, cheesy texture and suddenly it’s a bit like an aubergine parmigiana.

**A quick note about All Purpose Seasoning in case you’re wondering what I’m on about 😉 .  I bought this in the world foods aisle in Tesco and  use it for lots of dishes from potato wedges [white or sweet] to roast vegetables and soups.  I also sprinkle it on my roast chickens before they go in the oven.  It’s main ingredients are: paprika, coriander, mustard, chilli, garlic, onion and celery salt.  It’s one of those things that I bought on a whim and it’s turned out to be really useful for all sorts of things.  There are other varieties: chicken, fish, tropical, caribbean and barbecue being some of them.  I chose ‘All Purpose’ because it contained a lot of the spices I use anyway but in one tub.  Again, very cheap too.

All Purpose Seasoning

All Purpose Seasoning


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Image courtest of the BBC.co.uk

Image courtesy of the bbc.co.uk

It’s not often I post an actual recipe for something I’ve cooked but today is going to be the exception.  We had Thai-style fishcakes with creamy dipping sauce and roasted vegetable ratatouille.  All the recipes are my own, they’ve kind of morphed out of trial and error over the years, with a splash of inspiration thrown in from other recipes that I’ve seen in books or on TV.

Sharon’s Thai-style fishcakes

These are Thai-style because they’re not very authentic if I’m honest, but they have overtones of Thai in them because I like a bit of heat.

1lb [approx] of mashed potatoes or any that you have left over which is the best way, as I’m all for using up leftovers. 

1 can of tuna – whatever sort you usually use.

1 large or 2 small fish fillets, cooked, you can use absolutely any fish you like, even smoked.  I used  two small frozen cod fillets today that have been lurking in my freezer for ages.  You could just use one type of fish if you prefer.  I’ve made them with just tuna before and they’re just fine.

4 spring onions/scallions chopped into tiny discs.

3 oz grated matured cheddar [optional]

1/2 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes [cheapest by far bought in the World Foods aisle, usually to be found in rather unglamorous plastic bags, but just as good as the expensive little jars and last a lot longer if you transfer them to an airtight tub]

1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

salt and pepper

whole egg

good slug of lemon juice

flour for dusting

oil for frying

Quite simply break the fish up into small pieces and then mix the whole lot together in a bowl being careful to season to your taste as you go, especially with the cayenne and chilli flakes, heat is not for everyone so you could leave them out.  Try not to mash it together too much or you’ll end up with a paste rather than a fishcake, a bit of texture is good.  Then form it into patties using floured hands.  This made 14 small to medium sized cakes today.  I froze half of them for another time.  I make them small so Ethan can actually pick them up and eat them with his fingers once he’s dunked them in his dip of choice.   I always chill them for at least an hour or so if I have time, as they hold together better when being cooked.  Fry for about 7 minutes on each side.  I served them with roasted vegetable ratatouille today (recipe to follow tomorrow) but they’re equally lovely with a crispy green salad and freshly buttered, brown bread.

* * * * * *

I always make a dip of some sort with these depending on what I’ve got in.  Today’s was…

Sharon’s Thai-style creamy dipping sauce

1 tablespoon good mayonaise

1 tablespoon of half-fat creme fraiche or sour cream

shake or two of tabasco

pinch of cayenne [optional]

generous teaspoon of thai sweet chilli sauce

half a teaspoon of hot horseradish sauce/cream

good slug of lemon juice

Mix and pop in the fridge to allow the flavours to blend a bit.  If you don’t have the thai sweet chilli sauce you could just add a good squeeze of tomato ketchup instead, the tabasco and cayenne will give some heat and spice.

I apologise for not having any photo’s but as I don’t usually post recipes I hadn’t planned ahead and it’s all eaten up now :D.  The borrowed image above is exactly what they looked like though.  Thank you bbc.co.uk.

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